Treat the family to a new take on traditional roast lamb. Try this recipe from Karen Dudley’s new book, Set a Table, R380, Jacana.

(Serves 7–8)


about 2,5kg deboned, butterflied leg of lamb

1T your favourite rub or grill seasoning

1T vegetable oil


3 stalks rosemary, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

¾ cup lemon juice

1 cup olive oil


2 cups cooked lentils

salt and black pepper, to taste

3T olive oil

1t vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1½t ground cumin

1½t ground coriander

4T coriander, chopped

4T mint, chopped

2 cup baby spinach, shredded


juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 cup full-cream yoghurt


8 figs

6t runny honey

2T dark brown sugar

juice of ½ lemon

2T water

1T vegetable oil

4t red harissa paste

4t olive oil


1. Combine all the marinade ingredients. Lay the butterflied lamb in the marinade making sure it’s well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Allow it to come to room temperature for at least 2 hours before cooking.

2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

3. Heat your largest pan on high heat till it is very hot. While the pan is heating, season the joint generously all over with the rub or grill seasoning.

4. Pour the vegetable oil into the pan (it should be smoking hot and using good kitchen tongs, sear the whole leg, fat side down first. Sear the whole leg so that you lose minimal juices during roasting.

5. Place the seared leg, fat side up, onto a baking pan and roast in the oven for 40–45 minutes.

6. While the lamb is roasting prepare the lentils. You can also prepare the dressing a good few hours in advance, adding the yoghurt at the very end.

7. Place the lentils in a large mixing bowl and season with salt, pepper and olive oil.

8. Fry the onion in the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the onions become more translucent, add the minced garlic and fry for 1 minute.

9. Add the ground cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for another 2–3 minutes. Add a dribble of water if you think your onions are looking too dry. Toss the spiced onions through the lentils.

10. Stir through the chopped herbs and shredded baby spinach.

11. To make the dressing, add the lemon juice and half the zest to the yoghurt and stir to combine. I like to spoon the yoghurt on top and garnish with the remaining zest. The oily harissa is a great friend to this lemony yoghurt dressing, so when plating, allow some of the spicy red to drizzle over the yoghurt.

12. Cut the figs in half. Mix together the honey, sugar, lemon juice and water. Drizzle over the cut figs to marinate.

13. Add the vegetable oil to a hot pan and quickly put all the figs, cut side down in the pan so that they caramelise for a few seconds. Reduce the heat down to medium and quickly turn the figs over with tongs so that the other side of the figs cook a little too. Remove from the heat and set aside until you are ready to plate.

14. Stir the harissa paste and olive oil together in a small jug or bowl until well combined.

15. Allow the leg to rest for a good while before carving it into the thinnest slices you can with a long thin carving knife.

16. To serve, spoon the lentils down one side of a serving platter or on individual plates. Spoon the lemon yoghurt dressing over the lentils allowing some lentils to be revealed beneath the dressing. Arrange lamb slices on the other side of the serving platter or plate. Place the figs all around the lamb and drizzle over the lemon yoghurt dressing.